Suggestions for After Surgery Care
As soon as you can, ask the nurses if it is safe for them to remove your urinary catheter. Sometimes they want to leave
it in overnight. In which case, have them remove it the first thing in the morning as it can cause horrible bladder infections
and a lot of discomfort.
Your surgeon and the hospital staff will send you home with post-operative instructions. Follow them!!
Here are some of our suggestions:
For your ride home: Keep that little pillow we mentioned handy to tuck between the seat belt and your
tummy. Ask whoever is driving you home if they would mind letting a wee bit of air (a pound or so!) out of their tires
for the ride. It won't damage the tires at all and it will most definitely make the cushioning of your ride much softer!
Even the vehicle with the best (softest) suspension in the world will jar your insides something fierce on that first ride
- every tiny ripple in the road feels like driving over a log. So any extra softness provided for that ride is to be much
Take it easy. Your body has just been through a major trauma and will need rest and pampering. Your incision
may look as though it is healing well on the outside - however - inside there are layers and layers of tissue that will take
longer to heal. Things like making the bed, doing laundry, or even sitting at the computer may be too much. The more rest
and good nutrition you get the easier your recuperation will be. Several naps a day are suggested.
Do not push, pull, reach or lift for two weeks to allow internal sutures to heal.
Drink plenty of water. This is necessary for your body to return to normal bladder and bowel function. If you begin
to develop changes in urination, pain, burning or frequency, report this to your doctor immediately.
Do not strain to have a bowel movement. Gas is normal. Using Gas-Ex, Phazyme (generic name: symethicone) or similar
over-the-counter therapies will help. If constipation becomes a problem consider adding more fiber to your diet, using Citrucel,
or using a MILD stool softener. Pain medications tend to slow down intestinal mobility and can cause constipation. To
help with this problem, walk. Walk slowly, as normally as possible, and as much as you comfortably can. And drink lots of
water. If you should you find yourself constipated, and if you're a regular coffee drinker, have a cup of coffee!
Attempt to stand up as straight as possible. With any abdominal incision there is the tendency to slouch over because
it hurts. But if you continue to do so the muscles will contract and erect posture will be difficult later.
Get out of the hospital as quickly as you can. It is the worst place to be to heal. Try to stay no more than two days.
Your real recovery will begin when you get home and can be comfortable. Begin to take walks as soon as you're able and gradually
increase your time up and on your feet. Make sure you have someone with you at home. You need your rest!
About your sleeping arrangements. Your most comfortable pre-op position in bed may not be comfortable post-operatively,
at first. Experiment with recreating the positions that were comfortable in a hospital bed with pillows under your knees and
supporting your back. If you find that your bed partner’s night time movements are causing you discomfort boot him out
of the bed for a while! Or move yourself to a different bed for a bit!!
Do not bathe or shower until your doctor gives permission to do so. When it is allowed, make sure someone is nearby
in case you need them - at least the first few times you bathe. You may have been offered the opportunity to shower
before you even leave the hospital!
Do not drive a car until the doctor allows it. The need to brake suddenly may be painful early on and that is a dangerous
position to be in.
Keep stress levels down. Let others help you when and where needed. This is not the time to be superwoman.
No lifting. This means children, pets, and anything over the weight limit your doctor has given you. Although you may
not feel it, abdominal muscles are used in these activities and these muscles need time to heal after being cut. This means
too that the kids and pets cannot climb all over you!
Home alone during the day? If you will be home alone during the day have an ice chest next to your bed or chair for
fruits, drinks, and sandwiches; and a table for your phone, books, etc.!
Try to wean your usage of narcotic pain medication opting for analgesics as soon as possible. But - it is important
that you be pro-active in the use of pain meds, especially at first. If you know you're going to be up for a while, or doing
something more active, taking some pain meds may help prevent the "backlash" that we sometimes get. There is no need to suffer
through the pain just because someone else thinks you shouldn’t be taking pain meds!! Taper down as soon as you can,
by all means, but don't push it.
You may want to update your telephone answering machine daily to avoid having to answer the phone every time it rings and
give individual status reports to well-wishers checking in on you.
If you feel that you would like to try massaging the incision area to speed up the healing - discuss this with your doctor
before you do! If your doctor says it is okay to try it do not use any creams, lotions, or Vitamin E
oil until the incision is completely closed. You could potentially cause an infection should you try this before the incision
is completely healed.